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Posted on Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 8:21 a.m.

Homeowner confronts prospective thief inside car parked in driveway

By Paula Gardner

A 44-year-old Ann Arbor man may have thought it was easy pickings when he entered a parked car early Saturday morning.

However, the homeowner was awake just before 6 a.m. - and came outside to confront him, according to Pittsfield Township Police.

Minutes later, the homeowner had chased the man down, and subdued him until police arrived.

The incident unfolded in the 3600 block of Hillside on the eastern side of the township, near Ellsworth and Golfside.

The homeowner called police at about 5:55 a.m., reporting a larceny in progress - so police were on their way when the homeowner went outside.

Officers said the suspect did not take anything from the car when he tried to run away. They added that he'd entered the vehicle through an unlocked door.

He's now lodged in the Washtenaw County Jail on pending charges of larceny from a motor vehicle.

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Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 1:47 a.m.

Thanks go out to the Township Police for stopping at least one Ann Arbor habitual criminal. Luck with the rest of them!


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:30 a.m.

Usually the only people out in that neighborhood that time of day are regulars - local joggers and dog walkers. It's a dark area with no sidewalks. Seeing a stranger walking there that time of morning would attract attention.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 12:30 a.m.

Humm, would not have had as much excitement if the car door had been locked. Good catch homeowner!


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 10:43 p.m.

A "prospective thief?" Is that what we call stealing now, "prospecting?"


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 5:56 p.m.

Well Done!


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

"Hang a thief when he's middle-aged, and he'll no steal when he's auld." — Robert MacQueen, Lord Braxfield, Lord Justice of Scotland, 1776-1799


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

Och laddie, you're no wrong aboot that!!

Nicole B.

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

Strictly speaking, "prospective" isn't misused here, since it means "likely or expected." However, the word is generally used when a person is being considered for something, as when someone is applying for a job, trying out for a team, etc. For example, "the prospective employees were asked to sit in the break room until their interviews." In this article, I would have used "apparent" or "putative" instead of "prospective," or simply "thief" without the qualifier.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 10:47 p.m.

That is a stretch. Usually it is "alleged." "Apparent" might be okay. I prefer calling a thief a thief. What do you get into somebody else's car for? Now if he were homeless and he slept there all night lacking shelter, that is not stealing. Actually if he moved something, say something from the glove box that is now in such a place he could carry it with him, that can be enough to charge with with theft or attempted. I believe there is precedent that the moving is enough. For example, I break into your house and stack your TV. laptop, DVD player and all your jewelry next to the door. I hear your garage door go up and I high tail it out the front door. I am guilty of Home invasion because I moved your stuff with the obvious intent of loading it up in the getaway car when my buddy pulls up after I call him.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

"Officers said the suspect did not take anything from the car when he tried to run away. They added that he'd entered the vehicle through an unlocked door. He's now lodged in the Washtenaw County Jail on pending charges of larceny from a motor vehicle." If he didn't take anything, how can they charge him with "larceny from a vehicle"? It's fortunate for the homeowner that the "perspective" thief was not armed.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

Maybe being charged with attempted "larceny from a vehicle" is overstepping things here. But last time I checked, a vehicle is someone's property. Locked or unlocked, that gentleman had no business being in that property owner's vehicle.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 4:56 p.m.

Just speculating here, but the courts might assume as a default that the illegal presence of someone in a vehicle means they are in the process of stealing something, either from the vehicle or the vehicle itself. I suppose if the intruder was found to be sleeping in the vehicle a case could be made that he was just looking for shelter out of the cold, but even then I don't know if that would fly. It seems to me he should at least be charged with trespassing if not larceny or attempted larceny.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

Everybody's jumping to conclusions again. Maybe he was just an "undocumented valet".


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.



Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

Best post I've read all day


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

You are hilarious, sir. Thanks for the chuckle.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

Holy smokes. Where do you have to be in life to be breaking into a car at 5:30 in the morning on a cold day like this. Kinda makes you wonder.

Elaine F. Owsley

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

I wonder if it's really "breaking" into a car if the door is left unlocked. Is there a penalty for sitting in an unlocked car?


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 12:57 a.m.

A few houses near me got TPed so I think it's safe to say cold makes no difference.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

Nice!!! Glad one of these "car shoppers" got caught. I'd say something about not leaving you car unlocked....but I leave mine unlocked all the time...


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

Kudos to the homeowner on a job well done! We need more quick action like this.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

Yay! Chalk one up for the good guys. I'm so proud to see someone brave enough to do this. I feel sorry for any perp who'd enter my car or home. I'd subdue his butt all the way to the police station.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

and not just his butt either, all of him.....


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

Yep, as would I.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

And locking doors might help...


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 3:41 a.m.

Our cars where broken into 10 years after we moved in. Never locked them. Until one year we were broken into 6 times. Our cars are always locked now and yes, we still know people are checking our cars. Sad reality is that this is the way life is now a days. Thieves among us. No one to trust anymore.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 6:36 p.m.

Agree. A thief will usually break the window only if there are valuables in plain sight or if he actually wants the car. This will become particularly important now as temps drop and people leave their cars running to warm up.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

True, I agree and always lock my doors for this very reason. I've heard of situations where the would-be thieves go around trying door handles and just move on to the next vehicle if they're locked. I don't think many burglars want to risk smashing the windows and attracting attention if they aren't even sure what's in the car (as long as nothing of value is left in plain sight).

Matt Tuck

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

Then he would have broken a window. Good job!


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

Nice job! The homeowner probably stopped 50 future break-ins.